If you look closely, Apple is starting to exhibit similar attributes already in its arrogant and unwise handling of the iPhone 4 issues, and the fact that they released it in such a fashion in the first place (Windows Vista reminiscent). Reference An iPhone 4 Recall Will Hurt Apple More By Opening Additional Opportunity for Android Devices Than Increased Expenses.
As you can see from the graphics above, Apple and Google are the minority but are rapidly taking market share from the established companies – Nokia/Symbian, RIM and Microsoft. Apple is growing quickly, but Android is growing quicker, albeit off of a smaller installed base.
The company is providing financial incentives ranging from free tools and test handsets to funds for software development and marketing, said Todd Brix, a senior director at Microsoft who works with app developers. In some cases, Microsoft is providing revenue guarantees, and will make up the difference if apps don’t sell as well as expected, he said.
Microsoft revamped its flagship mobile operating system to recoup market share lost to Google and Apple. To win consumers, the world’s largest software maker needs an ample supply of games, music and navigation apps when handsets with Windows Phone 7 reach stores later this year. Some developers may be reluctant to sign up before they know Windows Phone will lure enough customers, said Kevin Burden, an analyst at ABI Research.
“In no way do they want to say, ‘Trust us, there will be apps at some point,’” said Burden, who is based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. “If that means paying developers, so be it. It’s a good strategy for them.”
While Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, has used similar compensation programs for previous versions of its mobile operating system, it’s devoting a larger sum this time, Brix said. He declined to say how much Microsoft will spend.
“We are investing a lot to attract developers big and small to Windows Phone 7 to let them understand what the opportunity is and provide as many resources as we can to help them be successful on our platform,” Brix said. “We’re open for business and we want to work with them.”
At least four app makers have been approached by Microsoft and offered financial incentives in cash, assistance with development costs or revenue guarantees in exchange for having apps ready at or near the release of Windows Phone 7, said five people with knowledge of the matter. The people declined to be named because the incentive terms are confidential.
Other mobile software makers use different approaches to entice programmers. Apple shares a portion of the revenue generated when consumers buy apps from its online store. The company, based in Cupertino, California, has sold more than 51 million iPhones since its 2007 debut.
Fewer Apps Than Apple
Microsoft is starting from scratch in amassing apps for Windows Phone 7. Its overhaul of the operating system was so complete that programs developed for older Windows-based phones won’t work on the new one. At the end of last year, Microsoft had only 246 apps, according to ABI.
Microsoft rose 30 cents to $25.13 yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have declined 18 percent this year.
The company’s deep pockets and the likelihood it will keep investing in Windows Phone 7 mean Microsoft may have an easier time luring developers than a smaller company, Burden said.
Developers expect Windows Phone 7 to be successful, three of the people said. Yet it’s difficult to get companies to build software for an operating system that doesn’t exist yet.